2010 MLB Awards from someone who has no vote.
MVP: Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton.
Bottom line: .359 / .411 / .633 / 1.044. 32 HRs, 100 RBIs, 40 2B, 3 3B.
Did he miss most of September? Yes. Did it matter? Not at all. The Rangers had the AL West locked up by September, and they got to that point in great part because of Hamilton.
Are there other legitimate candidates for this award? Other than Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, who put up a very impressive .328 / .420 / .622 / 1.042. 38 HRs, 128 RBIs, 45 2B, 1 3B. I don’t see anyone else as worthy of a vote. Of course, the issue with Cabrera is that the Tigers were never really contenders and a lot of voters tend to reserve the MVP award for players who were on contending / playoff teams. Hamilton qualifies on that level, Cabrera doesn’t. However, if you don’t believe in that part of the MVP criteria, then voting for Cabrera certainly makes sense.
Cy Young: Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez.
The last few weeks of debate has been amusing, but the bottom line is that Felix Hernandez has FACTUALLY been the best pitcher in the AL, period. The one department he’s not stellar in is the pitcher wins category, which is the one that he has the LEAST control over, especially due to the Mariners offense being one of the worst in baseball history. That’s not hyperbole, that’s reality.
King Felix has the lowest ERA (2.27), lowest BAA (.212) 2nd most K’s (232), which is 1 behind AL strikeout leader Jered Weaver of the Angels, most innings pitched (249.2), 2nd lowest WHIP (1.06) just slightly behind Cliff Lee (1.00), an AL-leading 6.0 WAR rating. Seriously, there’s not many categories where Hernandez doesn’t dominate. A 13-12 W-L record will end up hurting him in the eyes of many old old old head-in-sand BBWAA voters who don’t realize that W-L records for pitchers are not as indicative of a pitcher’s abilities as pretty much every other stat known to mankind.
Are there other legitimate candidates for this award? No. Seriously, no. CC Sabathia may have a 21-7 record, but see above. His ERA of 3.18 is almost a full point above King Felix. The WHIP is higher, he’s given up 3 more HRs, and so forth. The numbers beyond the W-L record simply do not support CC Sabathia for 2010 Cy Young. No way, no how.
Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price is closer (19-6, 2.72 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .221 BAA) but still doesn’t compare to the numbers that Felix Hernandez had. So, no, there’s no rationalization that can be made for voting for anyone other than King Felix.
Rookie of the Year: Texas Rangers’ Neftali Feliz.
Another year where a closer should win this award. Last year it was the A’s Andrew Bailey who rightfully won the AL ROY award, and his numbers last year were even better than Feliz’s 2010.
Still, 40 saves for the Rangers with only 3 blown saves, a 4-3 record with a respectable but not WOW 2.73 ERA, 2nd lowest BAA of .176 behind Royals closer Joakim Soria whose BAA was a league-best .163.
Are there other legitimate candidates for this award? Not really. Detroit Tigers’ centerfielder Austin Jackson was ok, but led the AL with 170 Ks, and his offensive numbers .293 / .345 / .400 / .745, 4 HRs, 24 2B, 10 3B, 27 SB, 6 CS were certainly good, but not outstanding.
No one else is really in the picture, so Neftali Feliz should win this one hands down.
Manager of the Year: Boston Red Sox, Terry Francona.
For a team as banged up and injured as Boston was this season to still finish at 89-73 in the AL East with a starting pitching staff that didn’t exactly rise to the occasion outside of Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester, shows that on occasion, certain big-league managers are really able to make lemonade out of lemons. They are rare, but they do exist.
Are there other legitimate candidates for this award? Certainly voters may lean towards AL managers who got their team into the postseason. Yankees’ Joe Girardi, Tampa’s Joe Maddon, Texas’ Ron Washington, and Minnesota’s Ron Gardenhire.
I eliminated Gardenhire immediately based on some insanely questionable moves he’s made this season, most notably against the Yankees back in May (http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA201005140.shtml) where he tried mixing and matching his bullpen guys to grotesque failure and loss.
I can’t find much fault with any votes for the others, but believe Francona was the best among his peers.
MVP: Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto.
.324 / .424 (!) / .600 / 1.024. 37 HR, 113 RBI, 36 2B, 2 3B, 16 SB, 5 CS.
Votto had a truly monster year and carried the Reds into the postseason.
The only other legitimate candidate is the guy who wins the MVP every season, St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols. .312 / .414 / .596 / 1.011. 42 HR, 118 RBI, 39 2B, 1 3B, 14 SB, 4 CS.
His numbers are incredible as well, and if someone wanted to vote for him, I wouldn’t blame them at all. But the voters tend to favor the player whose team gets to the postseason, and the Cardinals didn’t make it this year. Another reason I give it to Votto over Pujols is because Pujols had Matt Holliday to share the weight of the offensive firepower. Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen are the offensive heart of the Reds, and neither of them are as solid at the plate as Matt Holliday.
Joey Votto truly carried the Reds offense by himself, whereas Pujols had help, and they still didn’t make the playoffs. But hey, I can’t argue against Pujols as an MVP choice.
Both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitski of the Colorado Rockies had very good seasons, with Tulo having one of the most ridiculous Septembers in recent memory, but both fall short of Votto’s overall numbers for the season.
Cy Young: Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy Halladay.
Another two-man race. It’s either Doc, or Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals, but Doc gets my vote. Or, non vote, as it were.
Here are each man’s numbers:
21-10, 2.44 ERA, 250.2 IP, 219 K, 1.04 WHIP, .245 BAA, 9 CG, 4 SHO.
20-11, 2.42 ERA, 230.1 IP, 213 K, 1.05 WHIP, .224 BAA, 5 CG, 2 SHO.
The numbers are really close here, but Halladay did throw a perfect game (against the Marlins) this year. And the NL East was tougher than the NL Central, though that’s not necessarily Wainwright’s “fault.” Merely the reasons I give the nod to Halladay over Wainwright.
Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins and Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies, both favorites for this award in the 1st half of the year, did not sustain their effectiveness over the long haul.
Rookie of the Year: San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey.
Yet another two-man race. It’s either Buster Posey or Atlanta Braves’ Jason Heyward, although I think this one strongly favors Mr. Posey.
.305 / .357 / .505 / .862. 18 HRs, 67 RBIs, 23 2B, 2 3B, 0 SB, 2 CS.
.277 / .393 / .456 / .849. 18 HRs, 72 RBIs, 29 2B, 5 3B, 11 SB, 6 CS.
The knock against Posey is that he came up “late” at the end of May, whereas Heyward played the whole season. To that I say, then why are their HR, RBI and 2B totals all very close, despite Posey having 100 fewer ABs?
Posey is a CATCHER putting up those numbers, Heyward is a RF. Most outfielders put up even better numbers than what Heyward did. But not too many regular everyday catchers put up the numbers that Posey did. In fact, only the Cubs’ Geovanny Soto (former NL ROY in 2008) and the Twins’ Joe Mauer had a higher OPS among everyday catchers than Posey. Soto’s was .890, Mauer’s was .871.
Manager of the Year: San Diego Padres’ Bud Black.
This should be relatively open and shut, even though the Padres did not make the postseason, they were in the race until the final game of the regular season.
I don’t think a single person predicted the San Diego Padres would win the NL West, certainly not anyone at ESPN, and several predicted them to be dead last in the division.
Somehow, Bud Black, certainly in large part due to ex-GM Kevin Towers having built one of the best pitching staffs in the NL, with the fantastic 7th, 8th, 9th inning men of Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams and Heath Bell, brought this team to the forefront out of absolutely nowhere.
Almost all season, people were asking, “Are the Padres for real? Can they sustain this?” And for almost the entire season, they did. In September-October though, they put together their first and only losing month of the season at 14-17, which was ill-timed faced with the surging San Francisco Giants who went 19-10 and ultimately won the NL West.
But the Padres did this with zero expectations and the 2nd lowest payroll in MLB entering the 2010 season at $37 million. Their great undoing was a lack of offensive firepower, but now I’m getting sidetracked with the team’s successes/failures.
Bottom line is Bud Black should win this award, and I don’t see that you can make a case for anyone else to win it.
Hopefully the writers of the BBWAA don’t stray from my pretend ballot, or there shall be HELL TO PAY!